Background on Research Conducted in Kenya on Interest Groups and their Effectiveness
The objective of interest groups and business associations is to influence public policy. These organizations accomplish this by engaging in dialogue and advocacy with policymakers, both elected and unelected. A potentially effective, though largely under-researched, approach to gaining influence is to secure appointments to the boards of government agencies, committees and taskforces – many of which have a role in reviewing, proposing or implementing regulations. Unless countries try to maintain registers, it is difficult to even assess the extent of interest group involvement in government committees, let alone to assess the impact achieved through the active participation of the interest group representatives.
This paper summarizes the results of research conducted with business associations in Kenya. The research addresses the question of whether interest groups participating in government committees are effective at influencing public policy. Business associations in Kenya seek to reform public policy by encouraging policies that improve the environment for business, make it easier to engage in business transactions, promote a vibrant private sector, and create jobs.